London Glimpses: Millennium Wheel

I remember 31 Dec 1999 so clearly because unlike other New Year’s, this one was special as we were stepping into a new Millennium albeit with Y2K anxiety. Of course, everything did not turn out to be as dramatic as it was hyped but it did get everyone in the celebration mood. And the same day, London got it’s new city-centered, ever-turning giant Ferris wheel, offering a unique bird’s-eye view.

Millennium Wheel, London Eye
The London Eye

The Millennium Wheel or The London Eye was designed by David Marks and Julia Barfield when their idea won the 1993 competition organized by London’s Sunday Times. Its official sponsorship has changed hands from British Airways to  Merlin Entertainments and is now with EDF Energy.

It is a modern take on a traditional Ferris wheel with a few distinct differences. For one, you sit in fully enclosed capsules rather than dangling gondolas. Two, the entire structure of the London Eye is supported on one side only, allowing the wheel to hang over the River Thames.

Millennium Wheel, London Eye
The London Eye gives a fabulous view of the city. The wheel’s  ‘pods’ are spacious and shaped like Easter eggs. The wheel turns surprisingly slowly – it takes thirty minutes to go round, so there’s plenty of time to spot landmarks and take photos.

The location of London Eye is spectacular, at the western end of Jubilee Gardens, on the South Bank of the River Thames between Westminster Bridge and Hungerford Bridge.

View of the Thames near the London eye
View of the  Thames
Souvenir shop on the Westminster bridge
london cabs on Westminster Bridge
London cabs are so cute

I was drawn by this majestic looking beast that stands proudly on a plinth on top of Westminster Bridge, near the County hall. This is the Coade Stone Lion aka the Westminster Bridge Lion aka the South Bank Lion. This sculpture has seen a fair bit of London history in it’s over 175 year old existence…

Coade Stone Lion aka the Westminster Bridge Lion aka the South Bank Lion
The Coade Stone Lion

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